I started with Interlock. It seemed logical, since my sons were 5, 3 and 1. Before the end of the year, my husband lost his job. I managed to find someone selling a new Basic Five set and purchased it at a huge savings. Our first year in the Volumes was rocky at times, but enjoyable for the most part.
When I started shopping for a used Volume 2 I decided I could do without the Day by Day. After writing out the lessons plans for the first week I took time to map-out the Wisdom Words objectives for the year.
My first step was to page through the first grade objectives and see how many of them there were. I also needed to know how many of them required multiple days to complete. Once I had this number, I looked at my calendar and figured out how many weeks of school we would have that year. I divided the number of objectives by the number of weeks and came up with a rough idea of how many objectives we needed to do each week to get through the program in one year. If I recall correctly, it came out to be two or three objectives each week.
I chose to do at least three a week, sometimes four. I didn’t want any objectives split over the weekend, and I also wanted it planned out so that we finished WW before we finished the school year. That way, if we fell behind for any reason, I would have time to finish. Now that I’ve been Weaving for awhile, I realize I could have also just kept moving through WW without worrying about stopping. When my child finished the objectives for their grade, I could have moved them up to the next grade and kept teaching.
My children don’t have to “see” the WW pages, so they don’t have to know which grade I’m teaching from. I still have two early elementary children and I’ll probably use the latter method to get them through Wisdom Words.
I have discovered a wonderful tool for getting my children to write: an old typewriter!
My grandfather liked to write, and so did his older sister. I’m not sure how the story goes, whether he bought the typewriter for himself and eventually gave it to her, or if he bought it for her, but one year he gave her a red Underwood Golden Touch typewriter. (I would guess this machine is from the 60s, but I cannot find another like it to verify that.) About 10 yrs ago it was given back to my grandfather, and a few years ago it was given to me.
This past week I’ve let my kids do some typing — it’s always special when they type because I don’t let them “play” with the typewriter often. Today I sat down and showed them what all the different levers and buttons do, and explained the changes that have come over the years to keyboards (computer vs typewriter). I used to have some White-out tabs, but can’t find them right now, so I’ve had to explain (without showing) how to ‘fix’ mistakes.
They’re having a blast, writing stories about themselves! And I’m enjoying the clackety-clack of the keys, and the smell of the ink ribbon. I’ve even taken time to do some manual typing myself. I’ve forgotten how hard it is to just type and not worry about mistakes. To make a perfect paper, I must be conscious of every letter I push, otherwise I will have to
core correct my mistakes somehow.
Now I’m anxious to visit some antique stores again… I want to look at the old typewriters!
In an effort to teach my younger students that it is possible for them to write more than just a few sentences, I like to stretch-out the creative writing assignments. This past week was a perfect example. On Monday, I gave them a sentence starter: “The river flows…” My third grade daughter wrote three sentences altogether. My first grade son completed the sentence and wrote one of his own to go with it. The next day I told them to continue that thought, but include the word “mountain” in one of their sentences. The following day they had to include the word “map” into a sentence.
Sometimes they write goofy things and sometimes they surprise me with their insight. Either way, I’m happy to see them writing!
If you don’t care for the creative writing prompts within the Day by Day, feel free to create your own! It’s not as hard as you think.
Last night I purchased an awesome creative writing tool: The Learning Calendar. This morning I signed up for their free newsletter, The Learning Calendar Ideas. The newsletter provides additional activity ideas that correspond to the wall calendar.
The calendars themselves can be reused–although the days of the week won’t be right, the history for that day will never change–just like Weaver. The more calendars you buy, the cheaper they are, so grab some of your homeschooling friends and get a box to share! You can usually buy last year’s calendar at a great discount, too!
“When I give a writing assignment, my child says he doesn’t know what to write, and will just sit there.”
Does this sound like your house? Here are four ideas to help you get your students writing.
1) Try a sentence starter:
- “My mom likes…”
- “The dog is…”
- “Look! It’s a…”
- “On Tuesday we…”
I’m sure you can come up with more like this!
2) Invest in a creative writing book or calendar, or use an Internet site for ideas. I have a book called “Writing Down the Days: 365 Creative Journaling Ideas for Young People“ by Lorraine M. Dalhstrom. A good place to get ideas online is the History Channel. Click on This Day in History for a short article that will give you lots of ideas for writing!
3) Have your child write what he sees. One day I had my child close his eyes and I turned him in a circle a few times. Before he opened his eyes, I instructed him to hold out his arm and point with his finger–he chose how high or how low to point. When he opened his eyes, he was pointing at a gravy boat in the chiina cabinet. I told him he could write whatever he wanted about it: he could write a description of it, or tell how it was probably made, or he could use it in a short story… whatever, just as long as he wrote!
4) When all else fails… Have your child write, “I don’t know what to write” repeatedly on the paper for five minutes. This gets old really fast! My son had to do this three times before he finally started getting creative.
Be sure you are writing with your child. Set an example and your child will soon follow.
A long-time Weaving mom, Corina T., has come up with a special chart for Wisdom Words. This chart shows the topics that are covered in each grade, and when they will be repeated during the course of the program. The chart is a Word document and it’s located within the Files section at Yahoo. It can be found by clicking here. (You may be prompted to log-in, or join the group when you follow this link.) Click on the folder “Wisdom Words,” then right click on the file “WWTopics.doc” and choose to save the link or open it.
If you have a useful chart you’d like to share, let me know!